The contested election has plunged Iran into its worst violence for thirty years. Tens of thousands turned out, even though the Interior Ministry had declared their rally illegal. It was an act of defiance directly against Iranian authority never seen in post revolutionary Iran.
The protests have not just been centred on the capital. But Mousavi has called on his supporters not to rally today “to protect their lives”. The head of the euronews Arabic section Riad Muasses said: “The Iranian opposition is concentrated mainly in the big towns like Tehran and Isfahan. But it’s a mixed opposition, because it consists of Mousavi supporters, some royalists nostalgic for the time of the Shah, as well as all those opposed to the rule of the Mullahs in Iran. So the opposition comes from differing political standpoints, but it has one objective: to gain the upper hand over the Ahmedinejad supporters, and that’s what gives it strength today.” An eyewitness in the middle of the protests on Monday said gunmen opened fire as the crowd attacked a building that housed the feared Basij religious militia. What had begun as a huge, but peaceful protest, descended into bloodshed. Mousavi himself appeared, struggling to make himself heard above the chanting. They called out “tanks and guns have no use any more” in a direct echo of the demonstrations that preceded the fall of the Shah in 1979. Mousavi said he was ready to “pay any price” in his fight against the alleged vote-rigging.